Posts Tagged: Cripple Creek Mining District

Mollie Kathleen Gortner: A Cripple Creek Woman

Mollie Kathleen Gortner GoldMineTours.com

The fascinating women of the 1800s were not dissimilar to you and I, even though their circumstances varied greatly and required extra doses of pluck. They loved and lost. They laughed and cried. They tried and failed. Many tried again and were victorious. Relationships and community mattered to them. Faith played an important role in their strength and resiliency.

Mollie Kathleen Gortner was one of those women in Cripple Creek, Colorado.

Mollie Kathleen Gortner

Mollie Kathleen Gortner

In the spring of 1891, Mollie Kathleen’s son Perry left their home in Colorado Springs as a surveyor to map mining claims in Cripple Creek. All he talked about was the gold there. Wanting to see for herself what the fuss was all about, Mollie Kathleen loaded the family wagon with supplies and joined other wagons headed to Cripple Creek. She set up housekeeping in the log and canvas tent Perry had recently completed.

One day that September, Perry returned home from surveying with stories about seeing a huge herd of elk. Again, Mollie Kathleen decided to go out and see for herself. But she never made it up high enough to see the elk. When Mollie Kathleen stopped to rest, she looked downward and noticed an interesting rock formation winking at her. Pure gold laced in quartz. Having seen several prospectors in the area, Mollie Kathleen forced herself to remain calm and hid the ore sample in her clothing.

Consequently, Mrs. Mollie Kathleen Gortner became the first woman in the Cripple Creek District to discover gold and strike a claim in her own name.

MollyMine

Although Mollie Kathleen staked the claim and owned the mine, it was her son Perry who kept an office out at the Mollie Kathleen Mine. As soon as Mollie Kathleen would set foot on the mine site, the miners would scramble up out of the tunnels. Turns out they were a superstitious lot who refused to be caught in a one-thousand-foot vertical shaft with a woman on the grounds.

In each of the four Sinclair Sisters of Cripple Creek novels, readers meet at least one real-life woman from Cripple Creek history. I introduced Mary Claver Coleman, the Reverend Mother of the Sisters of Mercy, in Two Brides Too Many. In Too Rich for a Bride, business entrepreneur Mollie O’Bryan helped add layers to Ida Sinclair’s journey. Doctor Susan Anderson, known as Doc Susie, came alongside our cast of fictional characters in The Bride Wore Blue. Mollie Kathleen Gortner is the primary real-life woman in Twice a Bride. Like the women in the previous stories, Mollie Kathleen’s portrayal in the story is a fictionalization.

I begin with fact—what I can learn about the woman from research. Then starting with what I know about “her story,” I figure out where her experience might intersect with my main characters in their story.

As a secondary character in Twice a Bride, Mollie Kathleen Gortner plays a pivotal role in Trenton Van Der Veer’s adjustment as a businessman in the Cripple Creek Mining District. Mollie Kathleen also serves as an inspiration to newcomer Willow Raines Peterson, a widow in search of a fresh start.

Mollie Kathleen Mine, Cripple Creek, Colorado

Mollie Kathleen Mine, Cripple Creek, Colorado

Fun Fact: The Mollie Kathleen Mine on the outskirt of Cripple Creek, Colorado is open to the public and offers underground tours into the 1,000 foot vertical mine shaft. See what life was like for the Old West hard rock miner. A fun and educational summer stop for families. For more information on the mine and the tour season, go to: http://www.goldminetours.com/goldminetours.com/Home.html.

Have you visited a mine? Gone into an underground mine? Which one?

© 2012 Mona Hodgson, Author and Speaker

All four Sinclair Sisters of Cripple Creek novels are also available for your eReader?

Endorsements for Sinclair Sisters Novels

sinclair-sisters-group[1]

The folks who write the enticing blurbs about a story for a book cover or a front page receive ARC’s (Advance Reader Copies) from a publisher to read ahead of a book’s release.

What a blessing it was to have so many well-respected authors read The Sinclair Sisters of Cripple Creek Series and offer endorsements! Gargantuan Thank You’s to each one of the authors listed below for reading the stories. And, of course, I’m thrilled they enjoyed the books!

The Sinclair Sisters of Cripple Creek Series (Waterbrook Press)

The Sinclair Sisters of Cripple Creek Series (Waterbrook Press)

“Spunky sisters, mail-order brides, a mining town full of men…but where are the right ones! I was captivated from the first page!” ~Lauraine Snelling, author of The Red River Series and Daughters of Blessing

“A beautiful tale! Intriguing. Inviting. Inspiring.” ~Cindy Woodsmall, best-selling author of When the Soul Mends, The Bridge of Peace, and The Scent of Cherry Blossoms

“Mona Hodgson has done it again. With deft storytelling and characters that leap off the page, Too Rich for a Bride is a book I won’t soon forget.” ~Kathleen Y’Barbo, author of The Confidential Life of Eugenia Cooper and Anna Finch and the Hired Gun

Two Brides Too Many is one good book! Mona Hodgson sweeps the reader away with Sinclair sisters Nell and Kat an dnestles them in the majesty of Colorado, where a cast of characters eagerly await, to create a home. Hodgson leaves a tasty trail of breadcrumbs ready to lead us into the next story. Two more sisters…I can’t wait!” ~Allison Pittman, author of The Bridegrooms and Lilies in Moonlight

“Strong characters play out an intricately crafted story across a rich tapestry of setting. Not your usual mail-order bride story, and I loved the twists and turns. A real page-turner.” ~Lena Nelson Dooley, award-winning author of Wild Prairie Roses and Love Finds You in Golden, New Mexico

“This is a story that lets us stand on the cusp of a great societal shift–the entrance of women into the business world…. Cripple Creek’s cast of colorful characters plays host to a new romance, as well as pulling back the curtain on a local family tragedy. This sequel revisits the characters we’ve already come to love and creates a complementary depth to an entertaining new tale.” ~Allison Pittman, author of Stealing Home and The Bridegrooms

“I love recommending this series when readers ask me who I read and what books I can rave about.” ~Lauraine Snelling, best-selling author of Valley of Dreams and the Blessing series

CONGRATULATIONS TO THE FOUR WHO WON A SINCLAIR SISTERS OF CRIPPLE CREEK NOVEL–Susan M, Linda M, GodBLessAmerica2, and Jasmine A!

 

  • Do you read book endorsements? Do endorsements influence you to purchase a book?

Bob’s Corner: Mining with a Steam Shovel

Bob Glen Eyrie

Howdy, and welcome back to Bob’s Corner!

Today, I thought we’d talk about another type of ore removal. Since a gold mine is normally thought of as a below-the-surface operation, we tend to think of mineshafts, elevators, and total darkness.

In reality, Cripple Creek District gold is just as likely to be found in surface material. Or, at least material that is easily collected at or near the surface. In Cripple Creek, the famous Molly Kathleen Mine, still in operation as a tourist attraction, began with a lump of Quartz found on the surface.

A lady named (are you ready for this?) Molly Kathleen Gortner went in search of the herd of elk her son had talked about. Stopping to rest, she looked at her feet and saw the rock. She knew enough about mining that if you found a piece of quartz that had shiny veins of gold running through it, you pick it up and stake a claim. She did, and soon became the richest woman in town.

The video shows a steam shovel (or bucket, depending on where you’re from) that was a tremendous improvement over backbreaking pick and shovel work of those early days in the 1890’s. It could be driven up to a hillside, and one person could move tons of material in no time. The equipment in the video is actually parked near the entrance to the Molly Kathleen Mine. From the looks of things, this steam shovel will still be there when you visit.

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_jQr4azp0qk&w=560&h=315]

 

The active mines in the area to this day have resorted to this Open Pit type of mining. There is no danger of cave-in or elevator malfunction. Modern techniques consist primarily of explosives to blast sections of rock, then mechanical shovels to load it into trucks that haul it to a crushing mill. It may take tons of ore to produce ounces of gold, but this keeps the expense down so the mine can actually be profitable.

What aspect of mining most fascinates you?

INTERVIEW WITH IDA SINCLAIR OF TOO RICH FOR A BRIDE

Too Rich for a Bride Pinwords

“Ah! A book I’ve been waiting for. Too Rich for a Bride by Mona Hodgson will charm your socks off. All the ups and downs of a romance with a delightful dose of history and characters who will sneak into your heart and take up residence. More, more, we want more.” —Lauraine Snelling author of No Distance Too Far and the Daughters of Blessing series

Book 2
The Sinclair Sisters of Cripple Creek Series

In preparation to write Too Rich for a Bride, Ida Sinclair’s story, I interviewed her. I thought you might like to glimpse of Ida before she left Portland, Maine to join her sisters Kat and Nell in Cripple Creek.

Mona: Who are you? 

Ida: I am the big sister, the oldest daughter, the responsible one. I’m the one who makes things happen for other people. Isn’t this what the first-born does?

Mona: What do you want?

Ida: I want to make things happen for myself. I want to be a successful businesswoman, respected for my abilities and my hard work.

Mona: You expect to do that in a mining town out West?

Ida: You think it’s wrong for me to want success in the world of business, to earn my own money?

Mona: No, but it’s certainly not going to be easy. I only wanted to clarify your intentions for your fans.

Ida: My fans?

Mona: Yes, the Sinclair sisters—each of you–have a following of readers who care about you and your journey. What has your life been like since your mother died?

Ida: The moon was high when I heard my father crying. I rushed into the hallway outside my parents’ bed chamber. Dr. Haufbauer stood there rocking back and forth, shaking his head and puffing his pipe. Ever since then, I’ve felt responsible for my father’s well-being and my sisters’ care. Now it’s time for me to follow my dream.

Mona: Have you left any room for romance in your plans? Do you believe in love?

Ida: Although I would like to eventually find love and wed, I’m not searching for a man. Right now romance would be a distraction I can’t afford. If I ever do decide to pursue love and marriage, it’ll be after I’ve found success in business.

Mona: What about your father’s wishes that you and your sisters find a man in Cripple Creek, Colorado who can provide for you?

Ida: Father isn’t in Cripple Creek. He’s busy working in Paris. Besides, I’m not one of the daughters he was worried about. He knows I can take care of myself. Soon, I’ll prove it to him.

Mona: What has your life been like since your father moved to Paris?

Ida: Focused and lonely. I take my business courses in the mornings and work in the school’s office in the afternoons. Aunt Alma’s house is comfortable, but cluttered. Vivian has a beau, but you don’t want to get me started on him. Anyway, between Vivian’s schooling and her fascination with Gregory, she’s too busy for much more than a Sunday checkers game with her big sister.

Mona: What one word would you use to describe the following people?

Ida: Kat – wordsmith; Nell – homemaker; Vivian – Vivacious; Father – Steady; Aunt Alma – Entertaining

Mona: What word would you use to describe yourself?

Ida: Resourceful.

Mona: What word would your sisters use to describe you?

Ida: Dependable.

Mona: What word would your father use to describe you?

Ida: Capable.

Mona: How would you describe your relationship with God?

Ida: It’s more a battle for control, than a relationship.

Mona: Ida, now that you’ve been in Cripple Creek for a while, has your perspective changed any?

Ida: One, you should know. You wrote the book. Two, my story says it all, and I don’t want to spoil the read for our Sinclair Sisters fans.

“A beautiful tale. Intriguing. Inviting. Inspiring.” -Cindy Woodsmall, author of The Hope of Refuge and When the Soul Mends

Read the first chapter of Too Rich for a Bride.

If you haven’t yet read Ida’s story, or if it’s been awhile since you’ve read Too Rich for a Bride, you’ll want to read it soon. A beloved secondary character in the book will be the main character in Twice a Bride.

Mollie O’Bryan

Ida Sinclair has joined her sisters, Kat and Nell, in the untamed mining town of Cripple Creek, Colorado for one reason: to work for the infamous but undeniably successful businesswoman, Mollie O’Bryan. Ida’s sisters may be interested in making a match for their determined older sister, but Ida only wants to build her career.

Under Mollie’s tutelage, Ida learns how to play the stock market and revels in her promising accomplishments. Fighting for respect in a man’s world, her ambition leaves little room for distractions. She ignores her family’s reservations about Mollie O’Bryan’s business practices. No matter how she tries, she can’t
ignore the two men pursuing her affections—Colin Wagner, the dashing lawyer, and Tucker Raines, the traveling preacher.

As you read in her interview, Ida wants a career more than anything else, so she shrugs off the suitors and pointed “suggestions” that young ladies don’t belong in business. Will it take unexpected love—or unexpected danger—for Ida to realize where her priorities truly lie?

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